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Date of Award

Spring 2010

Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Elisabeth Gruner

Second Advisor

Dr. Julie Baker


In The Great Cat Massacre, Robert Darnton claims that Charles Perrault “represents something unique in the history of French literature: the supreme point of contact between the seemingly separate worlds of elite and popular culture” (Darnton 62). This claim marks Perrault’s tales in his Histoires ou contes du temps passé, published in France in 1697, as a means through which the literature of the upper class and the oral tradition of the lower class merge, resulting in some of the first — and arguably best-known — transcribed fairy tales. This is not a complete assimilation, however, since various structural elements of Perrault’s tales — such as the stepmother figure in Cinderella, for example — can be attributed to his variant’s predecessors. One of the fairy tale’s most central elements is its ability to be adapted according to individual interpretation; this point is well emphasized by critics such as Alan Dundes and Jane Yolen.1 Each teller adapts his or her version of the tale according to personal style and representative target audience while retaining the story’s central core.